The Risk-Monger

The decision passed at the UN COP-18 climate conference in Doha requiring developed nations to compensate developing countries for losses due to climate change has been hailed as a significant achievement. Without asking the obvious (How can you determine precisely what losses are losses due to climate change?), the Risk-Monger is looking ahead and asking: How many millions will die from this ignorant decision?

The Risk-Monger has been involved in various forms of development, education and poverty alleviation projects for many decades. From the time of his graduate studies, his dissertation was on the concept of human dignity, he has been focused on the means humanity has to lift itself up. That is one reason why he finds environmental activism (the indulgent charity of the luxury classes) so offensive. The environmentalists’ concentration on pet projects for the economically comfortable (solar panels, electric cars, organic food and deindustrialisation) has come at a deadly cost, as funds that used to go into aid and development projects that helped millions rise out of poverty go into futile green, “climate-saving” money-pits.

Those working in aid and relief programmes know very well that funds are finite, limited and, in the last five years, dwindling at a time when need is growing. Governments signing on to the Doha Climate Gateway (which aims to commit 100 billion USD to compensate developing nations by 2020) will not create new offices with new budgets to support developing countries in their fight against climate change. Rather, they will simply redirect their present aid budgets, giving them a certain ‘climate-friendly’ shine. Let’s not be stupid and applaud ourselves for actions that will make the aid and development situation worse – 100 billion USD could solve so many global problems and eradicate so many diseases).

Governments that give money to aid charities and development non-profits will now instruct these organisations to tender for projects related to climate change (that they can earmark as UN climate aid commitment). These organisations, providing lifelines for many communities and populations, will see their funds dry up unless they can find some way to convert their programme objectives into something that could be part of the “global war on climate”. Aid money is finite so what will we lose?

  • Women’s groups working to educate women in developing countries on subjects like contraception and empowerment will now have to seek funding for “sustainability” courses.
  • Fair labour projects to ensure cottage industries in developing countries have enough support to enable children to go to school rather than go to work with their parents will have to switch to tree planting schemes.
  • Programmes that helped subsistence farmers adopt agricultural technologies to improve their livelihoods will be replaced with large-scale biofuel or reforestation schemes.

Sadly the Risk-Monger has already witnessed one such switch (a German aid agency ending a women’s labour programme in Cebu, the Philippines, in favour of funding a tree planting project). How many major food infrastructure development projects will be lost because of the need to redirect aid to climate activities? Why has no one done the frightening math?

Environmentalists, from the luxury of their western homes, will not see the effects of the end of these programmes and the loss of lives, enslavement and impoverishment their actions will cause. They have probably never left the exclusivity of their domains to even see how the poor in their own countries live. They will only see progress in their ill-advised agenda to save the planet with programmes that will achieve little outside of a personal feel-good factor.

There is one more unpleasant achievement that we should not be so smug as to celebrate. We could expect large sums of money to now be redirected from present aid projects towards carbon-reducing infrastructure projects conceived within government ministries in developing countries (why they supported the Doha Gateway). Will these ministers in developing countries use these large fund dispersals wisely to help their citizens, or will the temptation to help themselves be too strong? It would not be wise to ignore history on this matter. So on top of the loss of programmes that will save lives at the micro level, we will see these much-needed funds vanish into a well of corruption.

The Risk-Monger has no patience for the behaviour of environmental activists who think their personal “upliftment” projects should have priority over other public investments for evidently more needy populations. As they celebrate their Christmas with bloated budgets and enhanced egos, let us say a prayer for those who had no voice in Qatar, those who will have to do with much less in 2013 and those who really don’t matter because they are not part of our enlightened, Western environmental agenda.

When will this madness stop?

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  1. Hi Risk-Monger,

    I appreciate that what you write comes from a good place (i.e. of integrity, good intentions, etc.), but I think this in this area you need pause and reflect some more – rather than launch into such a rant. Developing countries demanded this and, in most cases, for good reasons which you ignore. Regardless of the specific contribution of anthropogenic climate change (as opposed to natural variability) to the specific problems in specific countries, developing countries increasingly do face major challenges in adapting to environmental changes… which – regardless of their cause – will have serious negative consequences, if not prepared for/adapted to well.

    Surely you can see that a much more nuanced view is the reasonable one.


    1. Thanks Stephen for the observation. It should be an emotion-rich subject but the only emotion seems to be about how wonderful we are in thinking about developing countries within the climate context. We should be thinking about how aid is finite and usually fixed, so climate activists have essentially robbed Peter to pay Paul (but Peter was doing a lot of good). Like all governments, developing countries have different ministries competing for limited funds wherever they can find them. Their needs are great and beyond the capacity to fund all of the solutions (developing countries cannot get away with printing 40 billion USD every month). The ministers in Doha do have needs that are legitimate (although I fear climate creativity interpretations to tap into this kitty), but so do the health ministers, education ministers, agricultural or rural affairs ministers … but they were not in Doha and will soon have to compete with the “climate” ministers who will have more funds at their expense. In developing countries, priorities tend to be different from how we couch them in the West (look at the arrogance and ignorance of our CSR demands in the global supply chain). Can we trust environmentalists to understand the complexities in managing aid in developing countries when all they can think about is their global war on climate?

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